Thursday, July 10, 2008

Former Justice Minister to lose immunity

The Ministry Of Justice has received a motion for stripping parliamentary immunity of former Justice Minister, currently Law and Justice (PiS) MP, Zbigniew Ziobro.

When the Justice Minister signs the motion, it will be submitted to the Lower House, the Sejm, for further consideration. If Zbigniew Ziobro loses his MP immunity and is charged with ‘abusing his powers as a public officer’, he may be sentenced to up to three years imprisonment.

“This is just revenge for my determination to combat corruption,” Ziobro commented on the prosecutors’ motion.

“I am not going to hide behind the immunity”, he added.

Rzeczpospolita daily has found out unofficially that the Prosecutor’s Office from Plock, central Poland, wants to rid the former Justice Minister of his parliamentary immunity in order to hold him responsible for disclosing secret court records to his party chairman, Jaroslaw Kaczynski in 2006.

The court records included an investigation conducted by the Plock prosecution into a contract signed in 2003 between the Polish state-owned energy company PGNiG and a Hungarian paper tiger Eural Trans Gas, controlled by Semion Mogilevich, who is believed to control the largest Russian mafia syndicate in the world.

In the records were depositions of a businessman and former Polish Deputy Labour Minister Krzysztof Baszniak, who claimed that huge bribes were involved in a contract between the Polish state-owned oil company Orlen and the Russian Yukos Oil Company.

In 2006, Baszniak told investigators that the bribes could have amounted to 16,000,000 dollars and had been divided between the former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and former PM Leszek Miller (formerly from the Democratic Left - SLD).

According to Rzeczpospolita’s information, Baszniak’s depositions had been left untouched until May 2007 and no charges have been presented to date.

The motion for stripping immunity of Zbigniew Ziobro includes charges regarding “overstepping authority by a civil servant”, the Press Officer from the Plock Prosecutor’s Office told Rzeczpospolita.

According to the current Justice Minister, Zbigniew Cwiakalski, Ziobro had no right to disclose any of the court records to Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

“It wasn’t a coincidence that he took the records to the chairman of his political party,” Zbigniew Cwiakalski told Radio Zet.